Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Home Haircut for the Autistic

An interesting conversation with a trainee  at Kimage Hairdressing School...

Me: When would you graduate?
Trainee: End of this year.
Me: Would you be setting up your own hair salon?
Trainee: Rental is too expensive in Singapore.
Me: You can go to people's homes to cut hair. Some autistic children cannot go to hair salon because it's too noisy.
Trainee: Really? I thought "autistic" just means they like to be by themselves.
Me: Some autistic children are afraid to go to unfamiliar places, so their home would be the best place to cut their hair. You can even cut their hair while they are watching their favourite show in the living room.
Trainee: I've thought of going to homes to cut old folks' hair - old folks who are not mobile. Never thought of autistic children. But I do not have experience - would the family let me cut their child's hair?
Me: Experience is accumulated, isn't it? You just have to get started.
Trainee: Maybe I should go get trained first.
Me: I'm not sure if there is a hairdressing course specially for autistic clients.
Trainee: Would the kid let me use the clipper?
Me: That's the challenge. My son was very afraid of the sound it made, but got used to it over time. If you meet a child like that, I suppose you'd have to use mainly scissors. Maybe clip a bit for first visit, clip more the next visit, until that child trusts you.
Trainee: I ever thought of going overseas to cut hair for charity.
Me: But you still need to earn a living right? So we are talking about a specialised hairdressing here. You see, it's not that parents cannot afford it but that few hairdressers are committed to figuring out how to cut their child's hair. Just focus on the cutting. Not washing because you need special seats for that.
Trainee: Yah. And not dyeing of hair - just cutting.
Me: Meaningful way of using your skills, right?
Trainee: Indeed (说的也是).

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